Regional

19th February

Australia says foreign government behind cyber attack on lawmakers

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A cyber attack on Australian lawmakers that breached the networks of major political parties was probably carried out by a foreign country, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, without naming any...

17th February

Three people rescued from boat praised for taking precautions

A trio rescued from their abandoned boat thought they were 500 metres off shore when in reality they were about 5 kilometres out to sea. The three boaties were got into trouble early this evening off the coast at Orewa, north of Auckland. Coastguard duty officer Nico Doodeman said a mayday call was made from...

Auckland Council to use emergency powers to cut down 10 pine trees

Some Auckland residents say they are exhausted and stressed after a month fighting council plans to fell nearby pine trees. The Auckland Council is seeking resource consent to fell 203 trees in Western Springs, and are using emergency powers under the Unitary Plan to cut down 10 it says pose health and safety risks. [Residents at the...

Cuts to Gisborne plastic recycling scheme a ‘wake up call’

Gisborne residents are no longer able to recycle ice cream containers and yoghurt pots. Difficulties finding reputable or sustainable recycling markets have led Gisborne District Council’s rubbish contractor, Waste Management New Zealand, to stop taking grade three to seven plastics from the kerbside. This leaves only grades one and two plastics, which are used in...

Former Nauru president seeks asylum in Australia

A former Nauru president in need of critical medical treatment is seeking asylum in Australia. Sprent Dabwido, who was president between 2011 and 2013, told the ABC that the Nauru government was making it difficult for him to get the help he needed. Mr Dabwido is one of the so called Nauru 19 whose trial was permanently...

Aus, NZ police expanding Pacific presence

Police from New Zealand and Australia will increase their presence in the Pacific as part of a new agreement to tackle transnational crime. Fiji and Tonga have also signed up to the Serious and Organised Crime Pacific Taskforce, which will target criminal groups. New Zealand’s Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Pacific police forces were already...

Little progress on PNG’s Western Pacific University

Development of the proposed Western Pacific University in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands province has made little progress. The project in Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s Ialibu Pangia district in the Southern Highlands started in 2014. Mr O’Neill said last year that the government had allocated $US11 million to the project, with China providing a further...

16th February

Notorious PNG criminal urged to surrender

Notorious prison escapee Tommy Baker has been urged to hand himself in by Papua New Guinea’s police chief. Baker is thought to have been wounded this week in a shootout with police near Alotau, in which two of his followers were killed. For months, police have been unable to capture Baker, who is linked to...

PNG police close investigation into disappearance of five scientists

Papua New Guinea police have closed an investigation into the disappearance of five scientists in August 2011. The scientists were undertaking fieldwork for the Institute of Medical Research when they went missing off the coast of West New Britain. Despite numerous searches, little trace of them has been found, although their boat was later thought...

PNG authority to complete FSM crash investigation

Papua New Guinea is to take over the investigation into the fatal crash of an Air Niugini plane in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) last year. The Boeing 737-800 ended up in Weno Lagoon on Chuuk while attempting to land. Authorities in the FSM on Friday delegated responsibility to PNG’s Accident Investigation Commission (AIC)...

Samoa police handle social media threat against PM

The police in Samoa are investigating a threat made against the life of the prime minister on social media The threat was posted by Saute Sapolu, a Samoan man living in the United States. The threat was made in a video that went viral in Samoa before being taken down by police. Mr Sapolu is...

Damage reports coming in from Vanuatu’s north

The Vanuatu Red Cross is reporting that houses and trees have been brought down by Cyclone Oma in the north of the country. The Red Cross communications officer in Port Vila, Olivia Finau, said officers in the northern provinces of Sanma, Torba and Malampa are reporting damage to food gardens, crops and fruit trees. Traditional...

Cyclone Oma pelts Vanuatu for third day

Cyclone Oma is slowing down and gathering strength as it sits off Vanuatu’s Santo for a third straight day. The storm, still a category two, is about 295 kilometres west-southwest of the country’s largest island. It’s followed an unusual path and completed three loops off Santo’s western coast. In doing this, the island’s been lashed...

Oma hampers Solomon Islands election preparations

Election preparations in Solomon Islands are being hampered by severe weather from Cyclone Oma. The category two storm has been circling to the south of the country all week and it is forecast to strengthen to a category three system. All flights to affected provinces have been grounded and all ships are weathering the storm...

15th February

Informal sector in PNG biggest income generator: Dept

PORT MORESBY,14 FEBRUARY 2019 (THE NATIONAL)—The informal economy is the biggest generator of income for families in the country, according to a report. It is based on a national audit of the informal economy survey conducted last year by the Department of Community Development, Youth and Religion. The National Executive Council(NEC) has made the findings...

Only 24 APEC vehicles still in use and not 300, says APEC CEO Hawkins

PORT MORESBY, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (POST COURIER)—There are 24 vehicles still in use after the end of APEC 2018 and not 300 as reported. From these 24 vehicles, four are unaccounted for with the Police asked to investigate and locate through recovery processes. The other 20 are still in use by the Joint Security Taskforce...

New Caledonia pushes to join French debate

NOUMEA, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC)–New Caledonia’s three politicians who sit in the French legislature have asked for New Caledonia to be included in the national debate triggered by France’s yellow vest protests. In a letter to the French president Emmanuel Macron, the three have asked for registers to be set up for the public...

Australia reopens Christmas Island migrant centre in anticipation of new arrivals

CANBERRA, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (SKY NEWS) —Australia is to reopen a detention camp on Christmas Island after its parliament passed a new law which critics claim will encourage more asylum seekers to arrive by boat. The legislation – described by prime minister Scott Morrison as “foolish” – gives sick migrants easier access to mainland hospitals....

MP Manetoali’s bail varied

HONIARA, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (SOLOMON STAR)—-Outgoing Solomon Islands MP for Gao/Bugotu, Samuel Manetoali has had his bail varied in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court. This is to allow Manetoali to travel to Isabel Province today to get his nominations to contest the upcoming elections. Private lawyer, Evans Olofia made the application yesterday before Principal Magistrate Fatima...

UN guidelines unveiled to prevent rising hearing loss among young smartphone listeners

GENEVA,14 FEBRUARY 2019 (UN NEWS CENTRE) —More than one billion 12 to 35-year-olds, risk irreversible hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds such as music played on their smartphone, UN health experts said on Tuesday, unveiling new guidelines to help address the problem. The recommendations to prevent noise-induced hearing loss and related conditions such as...

‘New tech’ business model threatens decent work conditions, warns UN

GENEVA, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (UN NEWS CENTRE) —Unemployment is down globally but workers’ conditions have not improved, the UN said on Wednesday, warning that some businesses driven by new technology “threaten to undermine” hard-won social gains of recent decades. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), most of the 3.3 billion people employed worldwide in...

Cook Islands Minimum wage review starts

RAROTONGA, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS)—Cook Islands Minimum Wage Review Panel met on Wednesday for their initial meeting to prepare for the annual compulsory review of the minimum wage rate. Panel members include Sandrina Thondoo, Ministry of Internal Affairs; Ian Hayes, Ministry of Finance & Economic Management; Steve Anderson, Chamber of Commerce (for employers);...

Pacific tuna fishery on track to return US$1 billion

NOUMEA, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC)—The Pacific Community says tuna fisheries are on track to return US$1 billion to the region in a year. The community’s director general, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, said the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, or PNA, and the Forum Fisheries Agency are increasing returns to their member states. The PNA controls...

14th February

PNG fugitive shot but escaped

PORT MORESBY,14 FEBRUARY 2019 (POST COURIER)—Notorious Papua New Guinea criminal Tommy Maeva Baker is believed to have been wounded following Tuesday’s Alotau shootout, in which two of his men were shot dead by police. Police revealed said this  when identifying one of the weapons found on the body of one of the slain gangster’s as...

Chinese Takeaway in Convention Center a mockery: MP Chani

PORT VILA, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (VANUATU DAILY POST)—-Vanuatu Member of Parliament (MP) for Pentecost, Francois Chani, has described the overall planning of the National Convention Center (NCC) as ill-conceived with no deep foresight by those who initiated it in the first place. MP Chani agreed that the idea was good he said the overall plan...

Cyclone Oma veers west, still a category two

PORT VILA, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC) —A cyclone hovering near the top of Vanuatu has veered west overnight, and is heading out to sea. Cyclone Oma remains a category two storm with sustained winds of 95 kilometres an hour near its centre. But after passing close to the northern islands, including Santo, yesterday with...

Australian prepares to remove 300 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru in first wave of transfers

CANBERRA, 14 FEBRUARY 2019 (SMH)—-The Morrison government is preparing to remove 300 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru in the first wave of medical transfers under a divisive new law that has sparked a political storm over the risk of a resumption in boat arrivals. Asylum seekers will be sent to the remote Australian territory...

Nauru’s president wants to extend parliamentary term

YAREN,14 FEBRUARY 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC)—Nauru’s president has proposed changing the constitution to increase a government’s parliamentary term from three to four years Baron Waqa argues the amendment would provide better government and better policy making. The bill has been referred to the Constitutional Review Committee for consideration. Changes to the constitution require the support of...

13th February

Give us our 284 APEC summit cars back, Papua New Guinea police plead

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Papua New Guinea police are seeking the return of nearly 300 imported cars loaned to officials for driving world leaders around its capital during last year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation meeting, a commander said on Tuesday. The purchase of the fleet, including 40 slick Maserati Quattroporte sedans, sparked public protest in a country...

12th February

Support for New Zealand PM Ardern’s Labour party surges in poll

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Support for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s party surged in a widely watched poll published on Monday, with the 38-year old premier seen as the most preferred person to lead the country by far. Since coming to power in 2017, Ardern’s coalition government has faced several challenges including weak business confidence,...

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